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A Pep Talk from Your Foster Mom

Meera came to OAR in November, 2013, when cats who were living outside a pizza place in Batavia were threatened with extermination by the shop's owner. Meera was born with two shortened front legs (making it virtually impossible for her to survive on her own outside). She was nearly brought to a shelter to be euthanized because her caretaker thought her front legs were both broken. Fortunately, she made her way to OAR, and has been in a foster home since December. This is the pep talk her foster mom gave her the morning she was coming back to OAR's shelter in the hopes of finding her forever family.

I know you know what it feels like to be abandoned. I know you’ve felt unsafe, unsure, and unloved. Worse, I know that you’ve actually been unsafe and unloved, with an uncertain future. And I know you’re feeling that all over again now. I worry that, whatever circumstances left you out in the cold, in a commercial neighborhood in the middle of winter, with no way to defend yourself – I worry that it started out looking like this. That it started out with the person you loved and trusted pulling you out from under the comfy covers on your favorite bed, stuffing you in a carrier, and shutting the door behind you.  I worry that the panicked look you gave me is the same panicked look you had when you realized you’d been left behind, with no food, no shelter, and no way to fight off whatever predators (human or animal) came your way.

 But I want you to understand the difference. I promise you, we will never let you be in danger again. The next few days are going to feel rough. I hesitate to break this news to you, but you won’t have your own bed for a little while. And you won’t have your own person to snuggle up to in that bed at night, curling your tiny little body as close to mine as you physically could. At first, you’re going to have to hang out in a cage. And you’re going to meet a lot of new people that you’re not sure if you can trust yet. But listen: you can trust them. Let me give you some advice: that sweet little chirp you do, when you throw yourself on your back so I can rub your chin and belly? And that pose you do, when you stand up tall on your back legs like a meerkat? They’ll eat that stuff up – keep doing that, and you’ll get more treats than you get at home (the OAR volunteers are kind of softies).

But it’s not them you have to charm. You’re going to also meet some families who are looking for a kitty just like you. They might not know it when they first come to OAR – they might think they want a fluffy, cute kitten; or one of those fawning cats who throw themselves at adopters. So here’s where you have to work your magic. Because what they really want is a cat just like you. They want a little peanut, who has overcome such tremendous adversity. They want a kitty who doesn’t care that she was born with funny little legs that don’t work the same way other kitties’ legs do. They want a kitty that runs like a Komodo Dragon, and stands up tall on her hind legs when she’s feeling curious and checking out her digs. They want a kitty who greets her favorite person at the door by chirping, throwing herself on her side, and rolling around until she gets her beloved chin rubs. They want a sweet little girl who runs around and hops like a crazy bunny when she’s feeling playful. They want a tiny, furry little lady who likes to sleep under the covers, because that’s the best way for her to cuddle as close to her person as possible. And when they see you, I hope they’re going to see through your tough exterior – because I know, when you’re feeling nervous, you react by being a little hissy and using those funny little legs to swat the person you’re not so sure of. Do me a favor, and try not to do that. Try to show them just how special you are, and how much love you will bring to their home. And we promise to find you a family that will love you unconditionally and forever, so nobody pulls you out from under your favorite comforter on your favorite bed ever again.    

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